itravel instigates commission petition

Independent travel network rallies AFTA support for supplier commission recall

Independent retail travel network itravel is lobbying the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) to support a petition relating to the recall of supplier commissions.

The rally comes in response to some of the travel group’s suppliers unwinding commission on client bookings that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a petition lodged by itravel on the Change.org website, member travel agents have been asked to return income already earned up to six months ago.

The “Stop the recall of travel agent commissions” has received a groundswell of support from other travel agencies and consumers since it was started two weeks ago, bursting through its original target of 1,000 signatures. Currently, the initiative has amassed 1,300 signatures in support and is now targeting 1,500.

“Travel agents are doing it tough with this COVID-19 crisis. There are no bookings coming through and a number of industry suppliers are recalling commissions on previous bookings that are now cancelled. This is income travel agents have deservedly earned in the processing and management of these bookings,” said itravel’s Head of Operations, Kim Wudko.

“Travel suppliers rely on travel agents to promote and sell their product, yet if the client cancels (through no fault of the travel agent), the income from the booking must be paid back to the supplier, no matter when the booking was made,” Wudko states.

“Researching and booking the arrangements may have taken the travel agent many hours or days or weeks of work.  It’s a slap in the face for them when all their work has been deemed worthless.”

Feedback has included comments from the public, such as that of Amanda Rogers who said: “Travel agents have done the work in managing the bookings and now they are having to do the work to un-book these arrangements. They should be paid for what they have done.”

Another supporter, Tina Barrie, said: “It’s abhorrent in this climate, or any for that matter, that anyone should have to repay monies they have previously worked hard for and rightfully earned.”

Jenny White remarked: “Crazy, you don’t see car salesmen having commission recalled because now of COVID they can’t drive it??!! Stupid stop the stupid pls [please].”

“Travel agents deserve reimbursement for work completed. Cancellations due to the pandemic are not their fault. Reclaiming commissions is both punitive and unfair,” says Sue Fischer.

itravel’s own Melissa Torrisi remarked: “Travel Agents have to pay back earnings made months ago. So much work, so little profit. So not fair!”

Fellow travel advisor support has included the following responses:

Heidi Newport of Newport Travel: “I am signing because lots of the funds were received and used for wages and rent and other running costs for the last three months. It will close lot of good businesses.”

Marilyn Brown of Reho Travel: “We are all working horrendous hours at present and generating no income simply to care for our clients. Then to actually lose income we had worked hard for weeks, months ago, as a result is not fair…”

Barbara Turner from TravelManagers: “I am a hard working travel agent. I have done my job. It is totally unethical to revoke my commission after I have done all I was obligated to do.”

Josie McPaul of Bayview Travel: “Reclaiming commissions at this time particularly is just not on… what other industry has to give back its income when the sale is cancelled?”

TravelManagers’ Debra Deane: “Agents are going broke having to refund to clients for services rendered; sometimes months previously. We can’t be expected to make a living this way.”

Lodge support here.

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